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Soul Obsession: When God's Primary Pursuit Becomes Your Life's Driving Passion Paperback – June 7, 2005

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Soul Obsession: When God's Primary Pursuit Becomes Your Life's Driving Passion + Run Baby Run + The Devil Has No Mother: Why He's Worse Than You Think- But God is Greater
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1st Paperback Edition edition (June 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578568935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578568932
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Nicky Cruz is the best-selling author of fourteen books, including the Christian classic, Run Baby Run. Nicky is a minister and evangelist who has reached millions of people around the globe. Today he oversees Nicky Cruz Outreach, an international ministry to urban youth. The father of four daughters and grandfather of seven, he lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Gloria. Visit his website at

Frank Martin is an author and commentary writer for Focus on the Family. He collaborated with Nicky Cruz on his last book, One Holy Fire. Frank and his wife, Ruthie, live in Colorado Springs with their two children. Visit his website at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Iwas twenty-two years old when I received word that my mother was dying, and I wasn’t prepared for the mixed feelings this news would elicit within me.

I was living in New York at the time, still a relatively new baby in the faith, and serving as the head of Teen Challenge Ministries. My mother was in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, on her deathbed in the tiny stucco home where I had grown up. Most of my seventeen brothers and one sister were already at her side by the time the news reached me.

I wished I could have said that I loved my mother at the time, but I couldn’t. If anything, my feelings toward her ranged from hate to indifference. I’d spent much of my childhood hiding from her and the balance of it getting away from her. To me she symbolized everything that I despised about my past.

I wanted so much to forget the many times she had beaten me and cursed at me. I felt detested by her, even as a young boy. I remember standing before her once as she called me a “child of the devil” in front of her friends. She made me feel like nothing, a waste of space on the earth, a mistake, an ugly child who should never have been born.

For so many years I longed to get close to my mother, to hold her, to feel her kiss on my cheek. But Satan had such a grip on her heart that she didn’t know how to love, and I didn’t know how to love her back. Evil had taken hold in her spirit, and it wouldn’t let her go. Wouldn’t allow her to be the mother that I so desperately wanted and needed.

And now she was dying. Was I supposed to be sad? to cry? to pretend that I loved her and run to her side like any good son would do? I honestly didn’t know. But deep in my heart I did know what Jesus would do. He would go see his dying mother. So I booked a flight to Puerto Rico.

I had forgotten how beautiful Puerto Rico could be. Growing up in such darkness and horror, I had never learned to appreciate the picturesque surroundings of our little island in the Atlantic. Las Piedras is perfectly nestled in a valley of lush green, framed by untold beauty. You feel as if you could reach out with one arm and embrace the magnificent El Yunque Mountains, and with the other allow your fingers to swim along the aqua blue waters of the ocean. We used to call this place “The Rainfall.” It’s one of the most stunning places on earth.

Seeing my parents’ house for the first time in seven years was a bit of a shock for me. The place looked so small and insignificant. Like any other house on the block. But in my heart I knew that wasn’t true. This house was evil to the core, filled with horrible memories and unspeakable pain. Every crevice harbored demons of abuse and neglect–demons that still lingered, roaming the halls at night, haunting like a bad nightmare. I could feel them in my bones.
Behind the home, about a hundred yards into the woods, still stood the large round building–the place that so frightened me as a child and now sent chills to the center of my being. As a boy I knew it only as the “Spirit House,” the place where my mother and father went regularly to summon the healing spirits. The town was convinced that they knew what went on here, and rumors ran thick throughout Puerto Rico, but few had seen it up close and personal. They suspected evil and talked of the hideous things going on inside the infamous Spirit House; I had seen it firsthand.

As I stood staring at the large round building framed by trees, the memories began to rise to the surface. Memories of strange and unexplainable things that happened here on a regular basis–things that I still resist speaking of, all these years later.

My father was a spiritist–some say the most powerful in all of Puerto Rico–and my mother was a medium. So many times I watched helplessly from outside the window as their bizarre séances raged out of control. People inside would wail and moan and scream, summoning the spirits of the dead to awaken in their presence. Sometimes these spirits would take over my mother’s body, turning her face white and her eyes violently yellow. Once I saw an evil spirit come upon her with such force that it catapulted her through the air. Though she was a small woman, it took four or five men to contain her.

Another time I saw my father become possessed by a spirit he couldn’t control. He grabbed my youngest brother, put a rope around his neck, and tried to hang him from the limb of a tree. It took the combined strength of the whole family to hold him down as my brother slipped free. Later my father had no memory of the ordeal. In his right mind he would never have done such a thing to his children.

Even at a young age I understood the dangers of dabbling in the occult. Yet I found myself living in a home that did far more than dabble. We were known throughout the island as the home of El Taumaturgo (the Wonder Worker, the Great One). The place you go to find the warlock and the witch of Las Piedras.

Bound by Pain

I couldn’t remember how many times I had sworn never to come back–never again to darken the evil doors of my parents’ home. Yet here I was. And my mother was dying. As I slipped through the small corridors of our house, I could feel the satanic forces surrounding the house, the forces that had kept my family bound in darkness for so many years.

My mother didn’t recognize me the first time I walked into her bedroom. I can still see her lying there, babbling incoherently, with sweat pouring down the sides of her face. I tried to talk to her, but she just stared at me, her eyes cold and empty. Lifeless eyes. Loveless eyes.

“Mama, it’s me, Nicky,” I said to her several times. She didn’t respond,
just stared right through me as if I wasn’t there.
As if she were possessed by some ancient, evil spirit.

The sight of my mother’s dark and wicked gaze was more than I could handle, so I turned and fled. I told my father I would be back, but I wasn’t sure I meant it. Why am I even here? I thought. She doesn’t love me; she doesn’t even know me. Her days of evil have caught up with her, and now she’s facing God’s judgment. Who am I to interfere?

I took off walking down the street, down the long road leading away from my parents’ house, away from the evil that hovered and haunted all around. The whole time I was there I could feel Satan taunting me, touching me, grabbing at my clothes. My parents’ home was a rathole of evil, and I could feel it with every fiber of my being. I had to get away, to escape the forces of oppression attacking me.

I considered catching an early flight back to New York, back to Gloria and my new life in God’s service. People there needed me–people at Teen Challenge, the ministry that God had called me to. There they understood me. They knew that I was no longer a slave to my past, no longer bound to the hate and abuse of my childhood. No longer the “child of the devil” that my mother had tried to make me.

She deserves this fate. She will die as she lived–surrounded by sin and possessed by evil. I can’t help her now. No one can. She worshiped Satan on earth, now she will spend an eternity licking his boots in hell!

As I walked along the lush green valley, listening to the birds singing and the animals scurrying through the woods, the farther I got from the house the more peaceful things became. The scent of Satan grew dimmer with each step. I had every intention of leaving, of going back to New York and forgetting my mother forever, of going on with my life and putting my past behind me. Yet somewhere, deep in my spirit, I knew I couldn’t. God wouldn’t let me go. I knew I had to go back.

Suddenly I heard the sound of singing in the distance. Beautiful voices, echoing through the wind, like songs of praise. I remembered a church not far from my parents’ home. It was Monday evening, and I didn’t expect anyone to be in church, yet the sounds grew stronger as I drew nearer. I need to be around other believers, I thought. People like me. Maybe they can pray with me–pray for me. Give me some spiritual support before I have to face those evil eyes again!

A Cry for Help

I walked to the church and sat in the back. They were having testimonies, so I sat and listened until there was an appropriate opportunity for me to rise and make a statement about my family. The pastor didn’t know me, so as I stood, I introduced myself. I said, “My name is Nicky Cruz, son of Don Galo and Aleja Velazques Cruz. I want to ask you to come to my house to pray for my mother.”

“Welcome, Nicky,” he said, and we embraced.
A group gathered around us as I told him of my dying mother. I explained my need for prayers and support, and as I was speaking, I repeated, “Pastor, would you be willing to come with me and pray for my mother?”

Before he had a chance to answer, I turned to those standing nearby and asked, “Would any of you come and pray for my mother?”

No one said a word. The silence was deafening, and several stepped back. Suddenly one woman moved forward–a woman with fire in her eyes and hate in her voice. “We cannot go to that house,” she said. “That house is evil. That man and woman are demon-possessed. All their children are evil. Even their dog is possessed by the devil. We will not go near that place.”

My heart sank. I glanced around the room, and no one would look at me. All eyes fell to the floor, sheepishly. It wasn’t apathy I sensed but fear. Everyone knew what went on at the Spirit House.

I caught the pastor’s eyes and locked onto them. Then in one last effort, I said to him, “Pastor, I’m going to ask...

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I found the book easy to read and had some good laughs in the process.
A reader
This book made me want to give God more of the passionate love that Nicky Cruz gives Him.
Maggie Jarpey
From the time I received this book in the mail I had a hard time putting it down.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Nicky Cruz, once a terrorizing gang leader in New York City, now a world-renown Christian evangelist, opens this compelling compilation of personal true stories with a particularly heartwrenching recollection of the moment he received the news that his mother was dying. At only twenty-two, Nicky felt stunned and confused by the myriad of emotions he experienced when the word came that his mother, who once called Nicky a "child of the devil," was near death in his home country of Puerto Rico.

Cruz recalls his tainted early childhood as the son of a man who was a spiritist and a mother who was a medium. His memories of bizarre séances, inexplicable physical occurrences, and otherworldly happenings all figured into Cruz's reluctance to re-enter his parents' demonically driven home. As a Christian, Cruz felt repulsed by his family's occultist practices, yet his passion for Jesus, his mercy toward the lost, and his visionary heart compelled him to revisit the last place on earth he would willingly choose.

Go he did, and God met Cruz's faithful obedience with an outpouring of support from surrounding churches that encircled Cruz's home and prayed for his mother's deliverance from demonic influences. Cruz credits God for releasing his mother from the grips of satanic power, and miraculously she didn't die but lived another twenty-five years after having committed her life to Christ.

Cruz's own scurrilous past makes him the ideal communicator to those lost in the grip of poverty, drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions, and crime. And communicate he does --- daily, hourly. Cruz's own rescue from a life of violence came at age nineteen, and sadly he recounts how slimly he escaped from the all-too-frequent sting of prejudice and discrimination from within the church itself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A reader on December 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Soul Obsession" is a great blessing to the body of Christ. It is filled with inspiring testimonies about the love and power of God as He works in dark, needy lives.

The author also openly shares about God's love, guidance and provisions to him as he's served the Lord over the past 40+years; he speaks of God's faithfulness in the face of his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This makes Soul Obsession very encouraging to those serving the Lord in any capacity.

I found the book easy to read and had some good laughs in the process. The stories are very engaging - emotional at certain times and humorous at others but never losing the anointing that makes God so real while reading it.

The title of the book represents its text in a rather indirect way. The text does not lecture the reader on HOW TO make Christ one's soul obsession, rather it paints a picture of lives sold out to God.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BlackDogs on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a stimulating and an inspired read. I heard of Nicky Cruz some 25 years ago and remembered reading his book "Run Baby Run". I thought I'd try to find that book to buy for someone special to read and I came across this book. I decided to buy this one also. I couldn't have made a better decision.

This book is very carefully put together. This author's writing style is very easy to read but also very thought provoking at the same time. You know exactly what he's trying to say, there's no beating around the bush here. He is very clear, direct and honest.

From the time I received this book in the mail I had a hard time putting it down. I couldn't stop reading about the powerful experiences this man of God has been lead into in his life. He seems to know just what to say to Christians today or maybe it's his willingness to let God speak through him.

If you're feeling a little tired or stale in your walk with God, this book will sure wake you up and get you moving. If you feel comfortable and relaxed, this book will also wake you and get you moving. If you're ready for a challenge, get this book and read it.

Read this book and let yourself be convicted to give over your whole world to God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Harris on October 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Former gangleader Nicky Cruz relates many of his experiences as a Christian in pursuit of winning souls. In so doing, he relates many insights into prayer/faith/evangelism and there is a lot of "hands on" wisdom that will definitely help Christians in their daily walk. If you need a spiritual "reality check" then this book is for you. The author's zeal and passion for evangelism is very evident and is sure to rekindle one's faith and desire for winning souls for the Kingdom. A great read and one I highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Ramirez on January 21, 2010
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I loved this book. It is a great witness tool for people who have lived a life like Nicky Cruz and shown how through Jesus Christ you can come out of that life and live victorious. It is also very eye opening on different things he saw and went through including witchcraft in family members and the things that happen, but how God Almighty prevailed and brought him out through it all.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luis C. Fernandez on September 10, 2005
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rhoda on March 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is so powerful, the message so clear. Nicky Cruz has certainly been chosen and blessed by God.I would recommend everybody that is searching for answers for your life to read this book. Nicky Cruz, I praise the Lord that I had the privilege of reading it.
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